Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes at Hollywood Dayton
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With the Hoosier Park live racing season about to end and Hollywood Dayton Raceway's season in full swing through Dec. 30, excitement is beginning to build in anticipation of the third annual "Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes Harness Challenge" on Saturday, Dec. 9, in Dayton. Following a convincing triumph by the Buckeyes drivers in the inaugural event in 2015, the Hoosiers evened the score with a 406-317 victory in 2016.
The winner of this year's "grudge match" will get bragging rights for the next 12 months!
Hoosier Park will be led by captain Trace Tetrick, who will be crowned a repeat winner of the Hoosier Park dash title when the Anderson, Ind. track closes this Friday. Tetrick has amassed 362 victories through Wednesday with an outstanding .335 UDRS batting average. He'll be joined by runnerup Sam Widger, who has scored 327 victories with a .320 average, as well as John DeLong (220 wins), Brandon Bates (151) and Ricky Macomber (150).
Captain Josh Sutton will lead the Buckeyes into this battle as the runaway leader in the current dash standings at Hollywood Dayton. Sutton has notched 100 wins through the first 46 programs of the 76-day meet, good for an impressive .373 UDRS. He'll be joined by Dan Noble (79 wins) and Kayne Kauffman (61). A handful of Dayton drivers are bunched up in total wins competing for the final two spots on the Buckeyes squad. Tyler Smith (46) and Kyle Ater (43) currently have the edge, but Chris Page (41), Jason Brewer (38) and Jeremy Smith (36) still have a shot to represent Ohio on Dec. 9. The top five dash drivers at the end of the Saturday, Dec. 2, program at Hollywood Dayton will make the team.
The competition is comprised of six races with each team getting even numbered post positions in half the races and odd numbers in the other half. Individual drivers will also be pre-assigned approximately equal post positions over the course of the contest. All horses will then be randomly drawn into the races. The six Hoosiers vs. Buckeyes races to be used in the competition will be clearly noted on the condition sheet prior to the box closing on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
Scoring in the competition is heavily weighted for in-the-money finishes, but graduated points are awarded for fourth through ninth place finishes as well. The winning driver will earn 30 points for his team, while the runnerup will get 24, followed by point awards of 18-14-11-8-5-3-1 for the next finishers.
Hoosier Park's Emily Gaskin will co-host the evening's festivities with Hollywood Dayton announcer Barry Vicroy. They will provide valuable insight into varied tactics and strategies employed by drivers at the seven-eighths mile oval at Hoosier and the five-eighths mile track at Dayton.
Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway will provide $2,500 in prize money, with $2,000 earmarked for the winning team and $500 for the losers. In the first two years, though, there were no "losers," why as the drivers on both squads voted to donate all the prize money to the Dayton Fire Department's funds to insure a Merry Christmas for as many needy Dayton area children as possible, plus aid disabled former firefighters. (Hollywood Dayton)